Cattle Futures - Live Cattle, Hogs Settle Uneven

US - Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle closed mixed Thursday, with the front months rising amid fund buying, short covering and corn's precipitous tumble.
calendar icon 21 March 2008
clock icon 2 minute read
Feeder cattle ended up sharply, lean hogs closed uneven and pork bellies bounced back from morning losses.

Live cattle traded in two-tiered fashion during most of the session because of spot-April and nearby-June's oversold Relative Strength Index situations. What's more, short covering before the Good Friday/Easter holiday pumped up front months.

Spot-April live cattle's upward momentum picked up when funds flexed their buying power after April rolled through 10-day moving average resistance, which also set off stops.

Meanwhile, deferred contracts for the most part lagged in response to persistent Chicago Board of Trade corn's significant losses.

Live cattle made surprising gains despite the lack of cash news, sluggish wholesale beef demand and the federal government's monthly cattle report waiting on deck.

Packers are dug in with bids at $89 per hundredweight for live-basis supplies while feeders continue at $92 to $93.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's monthly cattle-on-feed report was scheduled for release at 3 p.m. EDT.

And USDA's midday boxed beef wire on Thursday showed choice cuts down $0.06 per hundredweight and select items slipped another $0.50.

Traders will respond Monday to this week's ultimate cash outcome and work positions based on the cattle report.

On Monday market participants are expected to gauge the direction of beef sales after the holiday. This comes at a time when parts of the country are warming up to more spring-like weather that could encourage consumers to fire-up grills.

Feeder cattle closed higher on live cattle's run up, short covering and considerable CBOT feedgrain losses. May feeder's oversold technical situation attracted additional buyers.

Meanwhile spot-March, which expired from trading at 1 p.m. EDT, finished down slightly prior to expiration.

April live cattle closed 105 points higher at 90.67 cents a pound, and June finished 102 points higher at 90.97 cents.

Spot-March feeders closed down 22 points at 99.12 cents. Nearby-April, which is the new lead month, ended 187 points higher at 104.02 cents.

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